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Full text of "A history of Persia"

CHAP,

426                HISTORY OF PERSIA
was a heavy blow to Persia. A treaty was hastily con-
cluded, by the terms of which Kamran Mirza agreed to
pay tribute to the Shah and to raze the fortifications ol
Ghorian ; and Mohamed Mirza hastened to Teheran,
where he was proclaimed heir-apparent. But before
quitting Afghan soil he swore a solemn oath that he
would return and avenge his failure in Afghan blood.
The Death of Path Ali Shah, 1834.—In the following
year Path Ali Shah died at the age of sixty-eight, after
a reign of thirty-seven years. Apart from his avarice,
which, as we have seen, brought disaster upon Persia in
her struggle with Russia, he was looked upon as a capable
ruler, and in some ways he recalls Solomon in his later
years. He certainly was no soldier, and by Persians he
is remembered chiefly for his enormous family and his
long beard. Many are the stories I have heard from
Persian friends about this monarch, and one or two of
them may be reproduced.
Of his personal beauty he was inordinately proud, and
it is said that, having a mole under his chin where it could
not be seen, he insisted on having it reproduced by the
Court painter on his cheek. Another story is to the
effect that when news was received of the crossing of
the Persian frontier by the Russians, the nobles and
officials waited with interest to see what action would be
taken. The Shah appeared, robed in the " robes of
wrath," which were all of red, including a crown studded
with rubies, and with a huge ruby in his dagger hilt.
The nobles expected him to deliver sentence of death,
as was customary when these robes were worn, and
listened to his utterances with awe. His Majesty pro-
tested that the " ill-omened " Russians had violated the
sacred soil of Persia, and enquired, " If we send the house-
hold cavalry to attack them what then ?" The reply was,
" May we be thy sacrifice ! They would drive them back
to Moscow." " And if we ourselves went ?" The nobles
gave no reply, but grovelled on the ground and wept at
the thought of the woes that the Russians would suffer!
Incredible as it may appear, there is no doubt that Fath
Ali Shah hoped the Russians would learn that the Shah